Director's Chat. November 2020
My name is Chuck Kessell and I direct the Normennenes Singing Society for some 16 seasons now
(If you can so far call this a season! Drat you Covid 19!). In case you didn't guess by the rather
extensive history on this website, our chorus is now 150 years old. There are a few choruses or in
fact musical groups in the U.S.A. that can claim such a tenure. The Chicago Symphony is not that
old, nor is the Apollo Chorus. I believe none of the Universities in Chicago with Music Schools
are that old! We are in a unique spot.
Interestingly enough, Normennenes belongs to a National Organization of Norwegian Male Choruses
known as the Norwegian Singers Association of America, and they've been around more than a
hundred years themselves. So What's with this whole Norwegian Musical thing anyway?
I'd like to say it's Norwegian exclusively, but it is much bigger than that. The Scandinavians
(Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Finns), The Baltics (Lithuanian, Estonian, Latvian) The Russian
peoples, and the Folks of Great Britain, with some heavy concentrations of choirs in Wales,
Ireland and Scotland all have deep roots in singing collectively. That can be said about
most peoples to some extent but our histories and travels and commerce and cultures are intertwined
Even with Covid 19 and our need to be distanced one from another we've taken some opportunities
to stay connected virtually. In a little while we will present some of our choral music on-line,
done with the magic of the internet. Keep your eyes open for this to happen.
Just some factoids about Normennenes and working through hard times. October 30, 1870 Normennenes
gathered as a chorus, and on October 7, 1871 Chicago Burned! It didn't stop the chorus from
singing. WWI began and those not in the armed services kept our traditions alive. Then the
Spanish Flu took Europe and America by storm in 1917-18 Normennenes kept going. Ever since
through thick and thin, Normennenes has continued on.
Though we are in a second 'surge' of the virus, we are planning ahead to have fun and expand
ourselves a bit. I'd like to invite men of any age to consider joining us. Yes I said joining us.
Get in on the virtual singing! Get a hold of me or Frank Potempa our President and we'll show you
how to start with us virtually! When we start back live and in person, you will be ahead of the
game and already singing some of our music. How cool is that!
If you are interested in Joining Normennenes and/or have questions, please feel free to get
a hold of me through the website, or my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at my cell
In these trying times, I am reminded often that we have so much to be thankful for. We miss
those gone from us but are glad we had some significant times with them and are blessed to
have others we love among us.
Happy Thanksgiving my friends and my brothers.
Lev Sangen! Chuck Kessell
(Oh BTW : Once in a while I'll throw in some Norwegian phrases just for fun)